Home Insights Federal Budget 2024: Key insights and takeaways

Federal Budget 2024: Key insights and takeaways

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4  minute read
Date published
20 May 2024

We discuss the key measures in Australia’s 2024-25 federal budget that could help drive innovation, research, commercialisation and business growth.

Treasurer, Jim Chalmers has handed down Australia’s 2024-25 federal budget amid an uncertain global economy, changes worldwide, inflation and higher interest rates.
While much of the focus centred on easing cost of living pressures for Australians, the budget contained a range of measures to support Australia’s innovation agenda and boosting local manufacturing under the “Future Made in Australia” plan.

Focussing on Australia’s natural strengths

The Government’s $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia package aims to build Australia’s potential in renewable energy, enhance resource value, and boost economic security by attracting investments in key sectors.

This initiative includes the creation of a dedicated Act and a National Interest Framework to prioritise industries and ensure responsible and targeted investments. The Framework will focus on industries that contribute to achieving net zero emissions and aligns with the national interests in economic resilience and security.

Proposed investment in Future Made in Australia initiatives includes:

  • A new ‘single front door’ for investors in priority projects, including  streamlined and strengthened mechanisms to attract and facilitate major investment proposals
  • $6.7 billion production tax incentive for the production of renewable hydrogen
  • $1.7 billion to promote net zero innovation, including for green metals and low-carbon fuels
  • $1.5 billion to strengthen battery and solar panel supply chains through production incentives
  • $466.4 million to advance Australia’s quantum computing capabilities.

Investing in skills and diversity for priority industries and higher education

In addition, the Government plans to invest $1.1 billion to reform higher education and deliver a skilled workforce for the future, including the implementation of a new National Innovation visa to attract exceptionally talented migrants.

They have also highlighted a need for greater female representation in traditionally male-dominated sectors, investing $55.6 million in the Building Women’s Careers program, which supports women’s participation in key high demand industries such as clean energy and advanced manufacturing.

As well, $38.2 million over eight years to scale up Women in STEM and science engagement programs to support a thriving, skilled and diverse STEM workforce. These initiatives aim to foster structural changes and expand employment opportunities for a future driven by Australian innovation.

Investing in medical research and wellbeing

In the medical research space, increased funding to the Medical Research Future Fund is provided by way of $269.6 million (making a total of $1.3 billion over 10 years from 2024–25) for medical researchers to make breakthrough discoveries, develop their skills and progress their careers in Australia.

In addition, there is:

  • an additional $377.5 million (for a total contribution of $2.0 billion over 10 years from 2024–25) to translate research outcomes into medical practice
  • an additional $411.6 million (for a total contribution of $1.6 billion over 13 years from 2024–25) to continue existing research missions and introduce two new 10-year research mission from 2027–28 for low survival cancers and reducing health inequities.

Also provided is $18.8 million over two years from 2024–25 to double down on Australia’s capacity to deliver excellent clinical trial outcomes. The National One Stop Shop for Clinical Trials and Human Research (National One Stop Shop) aims to help better manage clinical trials and human research, including management of cross jurisdictional ethics approvals.

Our view

Karen Sinclair, Principal and Patent Attorney reflects on the announcements.

“The investment leans into Australia’s historic economic strengths: bountiful natural resources and digging stuff from the ground. It goes an important step further though by matching them with another of Australia’s documented strengths: clever people. Rather than relying on export income from raw resources, the initiative seeks to rebuild sovereign manufacturing capabilities in technologies in which Australia ought to be able to excel.

Together with the “single front door” for investment announced and the establishment of an Innovation visa, I hope that the impact of the Future Made in Australia Act will be that more young people are encouraged to study physical sciences, and stay in Australia, with the collective outcome of an innovation boom in the renewable energy sector.”

Karen also discussed the role government funding plays in driving innovation, “Government funding is critical to accelerate innovation in priority industries, in an aging population in healthcare, and in our areas of natural abundance such as renewables. Taking Australia to the world through the removal of trade and investment barriers has been important to give Australians a global perspective: I truly believe the innovation sector understands that it is the global stage upon which we must compete – our contribution to world-beating medical research has demonstrated this time and again. But for a mid-size economy with some geographic challenges to easy market access, it makes economic sense for the government to support an end-to-end ecosystem which educates, trains, employs and leverages Australian smarts in industries in which we have natural and demonstrable advantages.”

So, what does this funding mean for companies and entrepreneurs and innovators in Australia?

Karen says, “The lights in Australia’s universities, research labs and incubators should stay on a little longer tonight. From an IP perspective, we need to continue to be smart about where we focus our energies. It’s critical that companies and entrepreneurs fully understand the technology and commercial landscape in which they are innovating and operating. Big data analysis of IP can reveal the least obstructed pathway to market, as well as provide a springboard to next generation innovation, all with a few skilled clicks of a mouse. Home grown IP is a platform for expansion protected from competition and as such opens doors to global investment opportunities and international commercial collaborations.”

Note: These changes are proposals only and may or may not be made law.

Source: https://budget.gov.au/